Laurence Sterne

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Laurence Sterne (24 November 1713 – 18 March 1768) was an English novelist and an Anglican clergyman. He is best known for his novels The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, and A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy; but he also published many sermons, wrote memoirs, and was involved in local politics. Sterne died in London after years of fighting consumption.



Laurence Sterne was born 24 November 1713 in Clonmel, County Tipperary. His father, Roger Sterne, was an Ensign in a British regiment recently returned from Dunkirk. Roger's regiment was disbanded on the day of Sterne’s birth, and within six months the family had returned to Yorkshire in northern England. In July 1715, the family moved back to Ireland, having "decamped with Bag & Baggage for Dublin", in Sterne's words.[1]

The first decade of Sterne’s life was spent moving from place to place as his father was reassigned throughout Ireland. During this period Sterne never lived in one place for more than a year. In addition to Clonmel and Dublin, his family also lived in, among other places, Wicklow Town, Annamoe (County Wicklow), Drogheda (County Louth), Castlepollard (County Westmeath), and Carrickfergus (County Antrim).[2] In 1724, his father took Sterne to Roger's wealthy brother, Richard, so that Sterne could attend Hipperholme Grammar School near Halifax; Sterne never saw his father again as Roger was ordered to Jamaica where he died of a fever in 1731. Sterne was admitted to a sizarship at Jesus College, Cambridge, in July 1733 at the age of 20.[3] His great-grandfather Richard Sterne had been the Master of the college as well as the Archbishop of York. Sterne graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Arts in January 1737; and returned in the summer of 1740 to be awarded his Master of Arts degree.[3]

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